The government is withdrawing all legal measures to prevent a large group of asylum seekers from bringing their families to the Netherlands in the coming months. For example, it is asking the State Council to suspend some recent court decisions for the time being, according to a letter sent to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Last week, at least four courts handed down a ruling according to which the IND Migration Service was instructed to help various asylum seekers bring their families to the Netherlands. These statements made the mincemeat of the so-called moratorium on family reunification introduced by the Cabinet in October.
State Secretary Erik van der Burgh (Asylum, VVD) announced last weekend that he would likely appeal against these rulings to the Council of State. It now appears that he will, according to a letter he sent to the House of Representatives on Tuesday. It also states that he will ask the State Council to temporarily suspend the implementation of court rulings. This means that asylum seekers are not allowed to bring their families to the Netherlands until the Council of State makes a final decision.
“In one of the rulings, the court ruled that the visa must be issued to the family members concerned within 24 hours,” the foreign minister wrote. Because he appealed against this decision, the State Council temporarily suspended this decision, according to the letter. “Until the appeal is made, there is no need to issue a visa in this case.”
AZCs are overcrowded
The ban on family reunification came into force in October and means that asylum seekers who have already been granted a residence permit for the Netherlands can only bring family members here once they find independent accommodation and are therefore no longer living in an asylum seekers centre. The government wants to use this to create space in overcrowded centers for asylum seekers.
However, it has caused despair and anger in centers for asylum seekers because the rule means asylum seekers will be separated from their families for months longer. So dozens of asylum seekers have filed lawsuits against the state. Last week, the Breda court left a few restrictions on family reunification. According to the judges, this rule conflicts with at least five other international laws and treaties, including the Aliens Act and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.
The family of an Afghan refugee, who is still in Afghanistan, is in a difficult situation
The case before the court in Breda concerns a Turkish political refugee whose family (wife and two minor children) still reside in Kyrgyzstan. The Cabinet ordered them to stay there until May 2023 if the father of the family did not have accommodation outside the crisis center soon. However, this accommodation is difficult to find due to the housing crisis.
Other cases before the court in Harlem concern a Syrian and an Afghan family. “Certainly for the family of the Afghan refugee, who is still in Afghanistan, the family members are in dire straits,” says a spokesperson for the court. The Taliban took power in that country last year. Since then, women and girls have had fewer and fewer rights, and girls are no longer allowed to go to high school or university.
This week’s decision
A spokesperson for the State Council said that the Administrative Law Department of the State Council will issue its ruling on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning on the provisional order now requested by the Cabinet. In January, the State Council will hear the government’s appeal. The hearing date has not been announced.
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